Last month I struggled with a sense of aimlessness. I am now about five months into remission and that feeling still exists to some extent but has been overtaken by a sense of doom. Thankfully I am not moving through my days feeling depressed. I […]
Surgery happens this Friday. Now there is a low hum of nervousness that constantly resonates out of my chest. It started yesterday and is so real that I can damn near touch it and see it. I wish I could make it stop. The thing that I have been asking for and not wanting is almost here. It’s inevitable.
It does not help that I can’t drink tea until after surgery. I have no problem with the other restrictions in part because my foods and drinks are already so fucking healthy. I don’t do any medications, no alcohol, coffee, soda… I do however like my ritual of tea in the morning. Grrrr…. I did find some almond milk eggnog, so I have been heating that up in the morning. Seems to me tea would be a million times better for me, but I give the doctors what the doctors want.
It’s been an interesting experiment in boundaries to put this whole thing out on the internet and write about my feelings and experiences. It has allowed those who are close to me to understand what I am feeling. (I don’t verbalize this stuff much.) It has allowed those who don’t know but care about me to express their love and cheer me on. It has brought a number of strong survivors into my life and threads. And it has brought a few thoughtless fools. I don’t think they mean any harm, but the things people say sometimes is so inappropriate.
Generally, the only things that irritate me are people giving me advice on what I should have done to prevent cancer. IT’S FUCKING GENETIC. It’s not about my behavior and it’s not my fault. So those people can go fuck themselves.
And then people make flip comments about my reproductive organs being removed. Things like how my uterus “It was a baby maker and now it’s a playpen.” WTF? Gross.
Or how I don’t really need these organs anyway. Umm… A women needs her ovaries and cervix at the very minimum. Ovaries produce feel-good hormones. A cervix is also a sexual nerve center that plays an important part in pleasure for many people. We can live without them, but we’d have a better life with them. Let’s remove any part of you and tell you “it’s ok… you can live without it.”
Let’s not forget that fact that even if I do not have children that does not mean I do not want children. I have always looked at myself as a future mother. When I was young I purposely sought to not have children because I was in poverty and did not have a partner I trusted enough to reproduce with. I could just barely care for myself and refused to have a child I could not care for.
Of course, poor people are allowed to have children– they just can’t always give them the best lives. Gandhi (he was a disgusting creature in the way he treated women and children, but he said and did some good things in his life) said if poverty was an excuse to not have children, there would be no children in India. I say never disparage a poor person who has children and is doing their damn’dest to give them a good life. I just chose to wait.
Anyway, once I was married I experienced more miscarriages than I care to share. This little body just would not carry a baby. I could have gone the medical route and tried to force my body to carry a child. I made the choice to respect my body and allow it to be just as it is.
It also helps that I know I can foster and/or adopt children. I grew up in foster homes. I know the reality of that world. There are good children out there who need homes. Some of these kids may be mine? I don’t know yet. At some point, my husband and I will buy a house and then we can see how we feel about that.
Reproduction may be limited to some of us but children are always available. I wish more people would get their fucking instincts and egos out of the way and consider fostering kids. Giving foster children and teens homes, even if they can’t keep them forever.
Anyway, opening myself up to the world has also opened up doors for strangers to say things that don’t sit well. Here’s a good guide to what to say to someone who is diagnosed with cancer.
And please enjoy this video of B movie monsters destroying shit. I understand them.
Uterine cancer is also called endometrial or womb cancer. People don’t talk about it enough… perhaps because it mostly happens to older women? Perhaps because women are not sharing their grief with this diagnosis? But uterine cancer can also happen to younger, body positive, fearless women like me. […]
Still managing to keep my head in a good place. I have these passing panicked thoughts about surgery and incisions and losing part of my body to cancer. I am getting pretty good at setting them aside. The mind is a funny thing, you can play honest […]
I’m making a list…
- My brother’s wedding
- Getting new tattoos with my husband when we get our no evidence of disease report
- Going back to martial arts
- Learning how to do aerial yoga
- Plotting my spring garden (I’m planting/learning to grow more food next year!)
- New Deadpool movie (the first one was so good!)
I am still waiting for my surgery.
In the meantime, I do art. I use these beautiful markers that have tips like paint brushes. I have two crochet projects. I catch up on TV show in chunks. Thankfully my husband has a real knack for knowing when I fell asleep during any given episode of any given show. The next night he will pick it back up where I left off. May sound simple, but you have no idea how awesome that is! I never lose a storyline. It’s good for my brain.
In other news, I have a million tests and appointments this week. My job has been so cool about letting me bank my hours and use my days to get to these appointments cared for. I’ll be getting a CT scan of my pelvis, a mammogram, blood work, urology consultation, medical clearance for surgery, and finally, I developed a swollen lymph node this weekend so get to see if that is something horrible or maybe just an infection from the last surgery. WTF? This little body is in peril.
Last week I got to review my pathology and learned I have a genetic syndrome that makes me 80% more likely to have pelvic cancer. Oddly this made me feel better. I was sort of kicking myself about because I was thinking perhaps I did not care for myself well or some such shit. (I know, it’s all bologna. The conversations we have in our head are not always logical.)
I have my brainiac sister doing research on what I can do to better care for myself after the surgical menopause comes on. It’s a little scary. Nature would have allowed my body to go through menopausal stages when the time was right. I mourn the loss of that natural process. I seek to just do the best I can to take good care of myself. Without the option of hormone replacement therapy, my options will become pure holistic means– like exercise, food, and herbs I think. My sister is the most intelligent researcher in my family so having her help is a blessing.
I am also having all sorts of normal but difficult feelings about sex. I have the most amazing partner and the best sex of my life with him. I know I am lucky to have this kind of relationship. We are brutally honest with each other. He lives with chronic pain so our sex is this amazing combination of rough and compassionate. Every time we have sex I have thoughts on how this may be the last time sex will feel like this. My body is going to change and I fear the unknown. I try to recognize these thoughts, acknowledge them, and then shake them off. It’s all speculation and speculation is a horrible waste of my mind right now.
Due to the never-ending wait, It looks like I will have one last cycle before I lose my uterus. I’m very private. It’s awkward writing about it but I feel like I want to tell you everything. I want future and past survivors to know the truth about uterine cancer.
When I was younger I had a true hate for my cycle. It interrupted “my life.” The pain, the products, the expense. In my early 20s I read a book called Cunt: A Declaration of Independence by Inga Mucio. While I did not chime with everything the author had to say, there were some lovely messages about the female body and its cycles that really resonated with me.
Loving, knowing and respecting our bodies is a powerful and invincible act of rebellion. -Inga Mucio
I grew to appreciate my cycle and listen to my body. I became more kind to myself. (Every woman deserves to have that kind of love and care inside herself and for herself.) I grew to understand that my cycle was not interrupting my life, it was simply part of my life. Making peace with my body made my cycle much easier. I had less pain and brighter days.
I think the day my last cycle arrives I want to celebrate. Maybe I will get a velvet red cake, red balloons, and solicit all red images and gifs from all my friends. It will be my chance to celebrate this little uterus while she’s still with me.
(Photo of my inner left arm, with the words “Force of Nature” written in script.)